Microsoft says that its just-announced Lumia 830 Windows Phone will eat into the market share of both the iPhone and Samsung devices. Is that a real possibility, or just one more example of overhype when it comes to Microsoft's struggling smartphone platform?
The Lumia 830 will be what Microsoft calls its "first affordable flagship" for the Windows Phone platform. It looks to be a solid device at a surprisingly reasonable price, at least compared to the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S5. It's got a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage. The display is a 5-incher with 1280 x 720 resolution, which isn't particularly outstanding, especially compared to the Lumia 930's 1080p display. There's also a 10-megapixel camera with a Zeiss lens, and optical image stabilization.
Bigger news is the price: It will sell for $430 without a contract. That's significantly below the $600 you'll typically pay for a Samsung Galaxy S5 or iPhone 5S without a contract.
Microsoft is using price to target both the iPhone and Galaxy S5. According to the IDG News Service, Chris Weber, corporate vice president of mobile device sales at Microsoft said at the IFA electronics show in Berlin:
"We're going to challenge Apple and Samsung and expose the premium they are charging for a phone."
He added that the Lumia 830 is "the first affordable flagship phone" and said that its capabilities are "on par with its flagship equivalents from Samsung and Apple."
Will the Lumia 830 really eat into iPhone and Samsung phones market share? Likely not. Windows Phone market share continues to drop, and the Lumia 830 by itself won't change that. The most recent IDC report says that in the second quarter of 2014, Windows Phone had a 2.5% market share, down from 3.4% a year ago. Worse is that the total number of phones shipped dropped as well, to 7.4 million in the quarter compared to 8.2 million in the same quarter a year ago, even while the smartphone market grew more than 25%.
People don't buy high-end phones like the iPhone or the Samsung Galaxy S5 based on price. They buy them because they crave them. And the numbers show that people simply don't crave Windows Phones to the same extent that they do their competitors. Dropping the price of a top-notch Windows Phone won't change that.